Amazing news: while we've been feasting on $69 flights from both American coasts to Europe, AirAsia swooped in with unprecedented transpacific fares — $99 from the U.S. to Osaka, Japan. Add on another $50 and you can get all the way to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia and a hub of low-cost travel throughout Southeast Asia. Get to KL, and you can get easily everywhere from India to China to Australia. This is big news.
The snag, of course, is that it costs a lot more than $99 to get from most points in the U.S. to Honolulu, the sole destination for those four-times-a-week AirAsia flights. Round-trip from L.A. for early March is a hefty $491; from New York to Honolulu in mid-March is around $650. New Yorkers headed to Japan would do much better to go straight there — there's even a bargain-basement $524 round-trip fare to Narita if you don't mind an unpleasant layover in Shanghai.
AirAsia flying to the U.S. is big news — but for now, it looks like the spoils are going to Asian travelers headed for a Hawaiian vacation, rather than U.S. travelers looking for a cheap route to Asia.